Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Rafael Cosman, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering and Product at TrustToken, which has just announced their first Asia-based stablecoin TrueHKD, launched with the support of Hong Kong-licenced digital asset custody provider Legacy Trust. Cosman talked about developing TrueHKD and the future of TrueCurrencies, engineering trends in the blockchain industry, and whether cryptocurrency will reach mainstream in Hong Kong and in other countries.
Asia Blockchain Review: Can you tell us about the recently-launched TrueHKD? What are its unique features?
Rafael Cosman: TrueHKD is the first Asia-based stablecoin to be launched by one of the major stablecoin issuers. We’ve heard from many of our customers in Asia that this is the currency they would be most interested in using other than TrueUSD (TUSD). This is also the first time that a stablecoin issuer has partnered with an Asian trust company and Asian banks to launch a stablecoin.
ABR: How can TrueHKD and other TrueCurrencies offer better solutions to securely move between local fiat currencies and the global blockchain markets and applications?
RC: In the 1½ years that TUSD has been on the market, we have already built a reputation as one of the safest, fastest, and least expensive ways to move from fiat to crypto and crypto to fiat. By allowing people to move from their local fiat currency (USD, CAD, HKD, etc.) into a tokenized version of that fiat, they trust that the underlying funds are always there supporting the tokenized currency and that they will not be exposed to price fluctuations in the days following the exchange. While we at TrustToken love Bitcoin and Ethereum, we recognize that they are not always the easiest first crypto purchase for a new user to make. It is much simpler to move from USD or HKD to tokenized USD or tokenized HKD, rather than right from fiat to a volatile crypto asset like Bitcoin.
ABR: How do stablecoins and TrustToken connect real-world assets with blockchains?
RC: Tokenizing real-world assets like the USD or HKD enable currencies to move with the same speed, cost, and efficiency as crypto-assets like Bitcoin. This is transformational for how we move money and value around the world. We do this in a relatively straightforward way.
ABR: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s Libra?
RC: I think when it comes to Libra, there is still a lot that is to be determined. In terms of product, if they are able to actually launch what they describe in the white paper, that would be very impressive, but we will see if that winds up being possible.
The good news is that Facebook has basically stepped up to take the brunt of all the regulators’ attention, and they will fight the legal battles that we need in order to get regulatory clarity in the space. We have found that a lot of companies in the space are using this as a chance to consider expanding their business in the cryptocurrency space, and we taking advantage of that interest to begin having conversations with several Fortune 500 Companies in the USA.
ABR: Can you tell us about some engineering trends that are transforming the blockchain industry?
RC: The two biggest engineering trends we have been following are:
ABR: In your opinion, will cryptocurrency reach mainstream in Hong Kong? What about in other countries?
RC: Hong Kong already has a very active cryptocurrency scene. Some of the largest crypto companies in the world like Bitmex have their headquarters there, and thanks to companies like Genesis Block HK, there are Bitcoin ATMs all throughout the city. They also have a very active startup scene there for crypto companies. In terms of reaching mainstream or ‘daily use’, Hong Kong is still such a cash-heavy society that this seems like a very difficult push.
ABR: What are some of the developments and projects that we can expect to see from TrustToken in the near future?
RC: We are continuously working on new ways to make it easier for people to move from fiat to crypto via products like TUSD, and we hope to have some new APIs (application programming interfaces) rolled out in the next month or two to make this even easier.
ABR: In your opinion, what is the future of TrueCurrency and how will it change our everyday life?
RC: We expect TrueCurrencies such as TrueUSD to open access to financial opportunities and allow faster global payments and trade.
ABR: With a growing interest in stablecoins, what are your thoughts on the stablecoin landscape? Moreover, what synergies or interactions do stablecoins have in relation to traditional financial institutions?
RC: I think we will continue to see growing synergies between stablecoins and more traditional financial institutions. For the time being, these partnerships have been limited, as traditional institutions, in many cases, are still understanding the landscape. So far, we have seen traditional institutions like JP Morgan launch their own stablecoin initiatives, but we do believe that there is a better case for having an interoperable stablecoin that is not associated with any single financial institution and can be used freely between many.
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